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Booze to Books

According to a January 17, 1932 article in "The Cleveland Sunday News," the frame building which housed the Porter Library was originally used as a saloon.
"Way back in the (18)80's, the gay young blades of Dover thronged the building for a drink of this, that or the other. Many a night the good townsfolk were kept awake by the roisterers. Then a literary society decided to take matters in hand. The saloon was a menace that had to be dealt with drastically."
Our hero was none other than Leonard G. Porter. He willed his private library to establish a community library in 1882 and left a fund to keep it going. Porter Library was born. The brass rail and barrels were replaced with books.
When the "Cleveland Sunday News" article was written, Mrs. John Winslow held the position of librarian. She reported that 5000 books circulated to more than 400 registered patrons in 1932, and only five books were not returned. Library hours were limited to Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Doverites felt a community interest in their library and paid $800 a year for its use, surely a bargain at a time when a Wurlitzer baby grand piano cost $255, and a powerful chassis of rich mellow tone 12 tube radio cost $44. Booze was illegal, since the Prohibition Era was in effect through 1933. But if a person were feeling pepless, a trip to Porter Library to borrow a good book would surely be the best cure for whatever ailed him. "From Booze to Books -- That's Dover's Library."


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